Slate adds in-page comments to our articles and blogs. (Finally.)
Just one more thing.
Regular Fray users are probably asking themselves: But what about the Fray? Before I answer that, a few words about the Fray and its users. Over its 13 years, The Fray been home to an often soaring level of discourse between our readers and writers, provided a means for high-profile public figures and respected policy experts to respond to Slate pieces, and offered users the chance to present poignant first-hand reporting on the most important events of our time. Fray alumni have gone on to produce popular blogs such as Instapundit.com, and one of our former regular commenters, or Fraysters, was the first blogger to ask a question at a White House press briefing. We have been fortunate to host such high-quality conversations and are reminded daily that our readers are among the most intelligent, best-educated news consumers in the world.
The Fray will remain, for the time being, as a separate, parallel platform. Nothing will change with the current Fray. I repeat: Nothing will change with the current Fray. You will still be able to post and view comments in the same way that you have since our last redesign three years ago. We are leaving the Fray up for now because we want to see how the two reader forums work together before making any decisions about the long-term prospects for the Fray. But we feel that Echo is not only a major upgrade over the Fray, it is also the future of commenting on our site. Without the means to post comments directly to article pages, the contributions of Slate's Fraysters have been kept hidden in a virtual attic. The Fray is not only difficult to find, it is often complex for newcomers to navigate, with an awkward sign-in process and a complicated layout. The new system goes a long way toward rectifying these problems.
Please keep in mind that the launch of Echo is not an attempt to kill off long-established and intensely devoted Fray communities. We are proud of these communities and grateful for the loyalty that they have shown us over many years. Our hope, and expectation, is that these communities will successfully transition onto our article pages, and will thrive there, in the spotlight that they richly deserve.
David Plotz is the Editor of Slate. He's the author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank and Good Book. He appears on Slate's Political Gabfest.